We started with a game on Monday. I don’t like Monday games since Sunday practice is prohibited. Never know how freshmen will react after a day off. From the opening tip, we were in control, but we never really put our opponent away. When I spoke to the team, I did not have too much to critique: our defense was solid, we were getting open shots, we were rebounding better.
There were things to nitpick like loose balls kicked out of bounds rather than picked up, failure to get back on defense once or twice, fumbled passes, missed lay-ups, etc., but overall, we were playing better. However, I did not like the way that we looked. I thought we needed to be a little more intense, and improve our concentration. The game was good, but not great. We’re improving, but we’re not there yet.
Practice ebbed and flowed this week. With 10 days before our next game, I backed off the scrimmaging and team situations and focused more on individual skills. We spent more time shooting, more time passing, worked on different post moves, free throws, free throw boxouts, and post offense and defense.
I added this drill as a different finishing drill, and thought that it worked pretty well.
I realized this week that a two-hour practice has diminishing returns; our concentration wanes dramatically after 90 minutes, so I decided to shorten practices. No sense going for 2 hours just because we can if we develop bad habits in the last 20 minutes.
We are starting to do some things well. Our help defense is better; one of our posts is doing a great job stepping in to help when we run on-ball screens. We’re doing a better job fighting for position and making contact around the basket.
At the end of the week, I told them that we had started to do the big things pretty well: getting back on defense, finding the open player, taking good shots, boxing out, getting into help position on defense. Now, we need to take care of the details: more talk on defense, better angles when setting screens, better passing angles, quicker ball reversals, stepping out a step earlier in help defense, etc.
By Brian McCormick, M.S.S., PES
Coach/Clinician, Brian McCormick Basketball
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League